"Manson Tour" Anyone?
40 Years After the Manson Verdict, Visitors Take 'Helter Skelter Tour' - Chris Epting - AOL News -Jan 25, 2011
Scott Michaels runs "Dearly Departed Tours", a Los Angeles tour company with a macabre slant. He is an expert on the history surrounding the Manson case.
"This case had movie stars, rock legends, Hollywood moguls and a spectacularly gruesome murder. It was spoon-fed to us on a daily basis by the media. True crime nuts came out of the closet -- Manson gave us permission to stare, and we were gagging for more." In the weeks after Tate's murder, the country was transfixed with terror.
"There was a three-month period between the day of the murders and arrests were made," Michaels said. "During that period, paranoia ran high -- and had a profound psychological effect on people. These victims were lying in bed, sleeping on the sofa or reading the newspaper ...
"Remember the Night Stalker and the Hillside Stranglers? Manson put these guys on the map. His appearance and expression made a convenient bogeyman, and still does."
Today, many Americans remain fixated on true crime to such a point that the topic inspired a road-show gallery of ghoulish gear plucked from crime scenes.
"There was a homicide exhibit in Vegas last year," Michaels told AOL News. "It was hosted by the LAPD and they displayed several artifacts from infamous crimes. The bloody glove from the [O.J.] Simpson case, the gun used by Christian Brando, vehicles from the North Hollywood shootout. And on one end of the room were items pertaining to the Manson case."
Those items included the fork that was found protruding from Leno LaBianca's abdomen, the rope that was around Tate's and Sebring's necks, among other items related to the gruesome killings.
"No matter how long you stayed in the exhibit," Michaels said, "the Manson artifacts were surrounded five people deep with spectators. By far the most popular part of the exhibit."
That public fascination with the Manson murders is what inspired Michaels, who hosted the acclaimed documentary "The Six Degrees of Helter Skelter," to include "The Helter Skelter Tour" on his Dearly Departed Tours menu. As Michaels puts it, the tour -- which runs several times per month, usually on Saturdays -- allows one to "relive this horrific and historical crime by traveling to the actual locations where these people lived and died."
With the top 40 songs of 1969 playing, Michaels takes visitors to the key locations. The tour includes:
•The Tate and LaBianca murder locations
•The final steps of Rosemary and Leno LaBianca
•Jay Sebring's salon
•The El Coyote restaurant where the Tate group had their last supper
•Where the murderers disposed of the clothing and the murder weapon, and the driveway where the killers washed off after the murders
•A multimedia presentation complete with video and audio clips (including the murderers themselves) surrounding the case
Michaels donates $5 of each ticket sold on "The Helter Skelter Tour" to the Doris Tate Crime Victim Foundation, an organization formed by Sharon Tate's mother, Doris, who died in 1992. Her work was taken over by her daughter, Patti.
For Tickets, Reservations and Tour Information...
Visit Scott's Site Here: http://www.zerve.com/DDTours/Helter
Tours run approximately 3.5 hours, for $50.